The Marais de Vigueirat is one of the more accessible marshlands of the huge Camargue nature reserve. 1 200 hectares where the ecosystems of the Rhone delta and the Crau steppe meet. For a small fee of only €3 you can visit the area over a series of boardwalks which lead you to 2 birdwatching hides, through swampforests and reedbeds. Along the way look for Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis and many more specialities of this iconic region. Apart from the birds, the area is known for it's populations of European pond terrapin and stripeless tree frog, so keep an eye out for these species too.
All year round you can see: Glossy Ibis, Western Swamphen, Moustached Warbler, Great Bittern. In summer: Collared Pratincole, Great Reed Warbler, Little Bittern, Stone-curlew. In winter: Penduline Tit, Bluethroat, Red-crested Pochard, Common Teal. During migration: Eurasian Spoonbill, Black-winged Stilt, Bearded Tit, Little Crake. For more birds you can see, see the extended list below.
From Nîmes/Arles on the A 54 motorway : take the expressway towards Fos-sur-Mer/Marseille and then, 20km from Arles, turn right in direction of Mas-Thibert. From Aix-en-Provence/Salon on the A 54 motorway : exit ZI Saint-Martin de Crau (2nd exit after the tollbooth of Saint-Martin de Crau), then follow the direction of Mas-Thibert (D 24). From Marseille/Fos-sur Mer: take the direction of Arles (N568) and after the long straight of the crossing of the desert-like Crau, turn left on Mas-Thibert direction.
By bus: From Arles, take the line 21 of Cartreize network in direction of Port-Saint-Louis du Rhône, stop at Mast-Thibert center. Cross the village to the access track to the Marais du Vigueirat, straight for 2 km to the Visitor’s Reception Office.
From Mas-Thibert, the circuit is well signposted. A 2 km track takes you to the car park of the Marais du Vigueirat. You can explore this exceptional reserve via a 15 km network of tracks. You can choose from different tracks. For example the Palunette trail a 2,5km long path with two observatories and a viewing platform (see the map).
Terrain and HabitatScattered trees and bushes, Wetland, Mud flats, Reedbeds
ConditionsFlat, High water possible
Is a telescope useful?Can be useful
Good birding seasonAll year round
Best time to visitWinter, Spring
RouteNarrow trail, Wide path
Difficulty walking trailEasy
Accessible byFoot, Wheelchair
Birdwatching hide / platformYes
The best times of the year are probably spring and winter, both because of the water level and because of the number of birds.
The entire Camargue has numerous great sites. Also the nearby stony plain of "La Crau" and the hills of "Les Alpilles" are fantastic places to see (amongst others) Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Bonelli's Eagle and Eurasian Eagle Owl. These areas are all described on Birdingplaces.